Sunday, February 6, 2011

Here We Go

Some of you may have seen this over at the Nonplayer website, but I felt I should post it here for posterity's sake:

The guy on the right is my friend Joe Keatinge, and the guy on the left is Moebius, my all-time comics hero. Joe and my studio-mate Justin "Moritat" Norman went to the Festival International de la Bande Dessinée Angoulême last week to scope out the French comics scene (and to see the by-all-accounts-stupendous Moebius show in Paris), and before they left, Justin made me print out a copy of Nonplayer #1 to take along with him.

I need to make a quick digression. Despite being universally overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated, comic creators are the most generous, selfless, and encouraging people on planet Earth. Justin and Joe are great examples. These are busy guys with books of their own to think about, yet they went out of their way to take a sample of my work to the other side of the planet. In my experience, this is unusually nice.

Also illustrative of this rampant altruism: the existence of pinup artwork. Comic artists regularly make pretty drawings for one another for free. Nonplayer #1 has three pinups in it, and all three contributors (whom I will showcase in a future post) are full-time comic artists. Which means they had to carve time out of their already impossible schedules to do free work for a guy they only met a year ago. In what other industry do you encounter that kind of generosity? I find it a little inexplicable, but I assume it has something to do with the general sense that comic artists are embattled underdogs who must stick up for one another. They're like scrappy English street urchins.

With so much competition in the world of comics, you'd expect newcomers to be treated with coldness, if not contempt. But once again, almost every creator I've met has demonstrated a strong conviction that a rising tide will raise all boats. Perhaps this "more the merrier" attitude is buttressed by the knowledge that attrition among comic artists is worse than at the Battle of the Somme. There's little danger of overcrowding.

ANYWAY. Justin apparently dared Joe to go up to Moebius after a lecture to show him my book. And according to Joe's account, Moebius said something like "very cool, beautiful, may I have it?" What a nice guy, right? It looks like that generosity of spirit goes all the way to the top of the comics pyramid. Joe called me a few minutes later, and I could tell from his quavering voice that something weird had happened. His first words were "somebody stole your comic." I was in the midst of telling him it was okay when he interjected, "it was Moebius!" And then I went all Tourette's and started jumping around my studio. 

That photo still sort of blows my mind. A part of me still thinks it's 'shopped. People like Moebius inhabit a mythical dimension that we can view but never touch. To see my comic in his hand is like seeing my brother walk by in the background of the cantina scene in A New Hope. It's totally unbelievable.

So! That was nice.

In other news, Nonplayer #1 is listed in the February issue of Previews (Previews is the distribution catalog that comic retailers use to order books for the coming months). If you want to make sure that the first issue appears on the shelf at your local comic shop in April, please mention Nonplayer the next time you visit. The item code for Nonplayer is FEB110397, and there is a four-page preview on page 178 of the Previews catalog. Thanks for your help!

Finally, I would like to start showcasing some Nonplayer art by folks other than me! If anybody wants to submit Nonplayer-related artwork, I'd be happy to show it off at the official Nonplayer website (and maybe here on this blog, as well). If you wanna, send stuff to nonplayercomic (at) gmail. Yes, I know there are only eight pages out there (plus, as observant onlookers may already know, one page fragment on the banner for the Nonplayer website and two more bits on display at the Nonplayer Store). Between all these, there should be enough funky creatures, guys with pointy ears, and weird-looking swords to come up with something, right?


  1. That is trippy, congrats!! Really looking forward to the book!

  2. man this is SO AWESOME.
    that's the reason why i love comics!!

  3. From my experience, I have to agree about comic creators. When I went to FIBDA I was completely taken by surprise by how nice, friendly and supportive every single author was, from first-timers like myself to the stars of the event. It's a field nobody gets into because they need a job or they want to rise above the others, we all do it because we're in love with it, and as a result the more new talents we're able to discover and meet the happier we are, I think! Anyway, congrats, having someone like Moebius react that ay must be incredibly validating!

  4. That's fantastic!! Well deserved!!

  5. Congrats, that is a very cool experience.

  6. I'm assuming that we'll be able to order direct from the store someday?

  7. rico - Thanks, man! Yeah, it was pretty surreal. I tried to check out your website, but your link is a bit funky. What gives?

    Diantres - Yeah, it's totally awesome. You know what else is awesome? YOU.

    Joumana - You hit the nail on the head, as usual. This isn't like investment banking -- there's virtually no money in it, so the people you run across are doing it just to do it. Lots of passion and curiosity everywhere you look.

    nana - Thanks very much, Ms. Li. That Ross Noble poster is SICK. Stop being so good. Thank you.

    Jason P. Crayton - Thanks, Jason!

    Lord Slapdash - I'm not sure exactly what "direct from the store" means. You can go to your local comic shop and ask them to order Nonplayer for you (which, if they're nice, they will). I believe you can also order directly from the Previews catalog, though I'm not sure how cost-effective that is. I believe there are also other online comic retailers -- for example Hope that helps!

  8. I am a huge fan of Justin "Moritat" Norman and have heard the same type of stories about his generosity and willingness to help others from many other comic pros. I am just a comic book fan and can tell you he has been the same with me and have seen him treat all fans the same way. The book looks great and it will be hard waiting so long for the second issue but well worth the wait. Congratulations and much continued success.